I’ve been listening to A LOT of the Splendid Table podcast. It’s great by its own accord and helps me as an aspiring foodie, but it also fills my Food Network void while living in Thailand. I love to cook, especially now that Sean and I live together. He gives me a reason to cook and bake!
Last night I made a dish that was inspired by several pins that I’ve pinned to my “Eat Food, Mostly Plants” pin board on Pinterest (the name being an ode to Michael Pollan and his lovely food rules). I call it Butternut Black Bean-Stuffed Avocados. I’ll do my best to write a recipe here, but know that this is the kind of meal that can be thrown together with any amount of anything you want! I’ve learned from my mom, my aunt, and Rachael Ray that measuring is for sissies. However, measuring has its place, and it’s very helpful if you’re trying out new ingredients or flavors (e.g., you wouldn’t want to just wing it with kaffir lime leaves…a little goes a long way. Sorry — Thai cooking reference!).
1 butternut squash
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon or so of dried ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried chili flakes (or your spicy addition of choice!)
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped (or any other green that you like)
2 cups cooked black beans (I’ve been learning a lot about BPA in cans, so I recommend homemade dried beans or beans from non-BPA cans.)
1/2 can of chopped tomatoes with their juice + 2 fresh tomatoes chopped (or 1 can and 1 fresh) (And again with the BPA – tomatoes are the worst to eat from cans, so try to find those non-BPA ones!)
salt to taste
(Not pictured, but throwing on some cilantro wouldn’t be a bad idea!)
1. Peel the butternut squash (takes some muscle!), discard the seeds (or save them later to roast!), and chop into 1-inch cubes.
2. Cook the butternut squash. I threw mine in a glass Pyrex bowl with an inch of water, covered it, and baked it in the oven for about an hour at 400F. There are many other ways…take your pick! Here’s a link about roasting, and here’s one about the healthiest way to do it, steaming.
3. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat. I learned on the Splendid Table that slower cooked onions take on a sweeter taste, while quick-cooking them in high heat makes them more intense. Let them cook for several minutes, until they’re floppy and starting to brown.
4. Add the garlic, cumin, and chili flakes to your pan with the onions, stirring to keep them from burning. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is soft.
5. Now it’s time for the greens. Add them to the pan and let them cook down. Once they’re bright green and wilted, add the black beans and tomatoes.
6. Once the tomatoes and beans are heated through, squeeze in half of a lime (or more, to taste), lower the heat, and allow the mixture to simmer.
7. When the butternut squash is soft, strain out the water if you used my method of cooking (but keep it to make soup…or just drink it! It’s full of vitamins!). Then add the cubes of deliciousness to the sauce mixture.
8. Slice the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Squeeze the other half of the lime onto the avos and sprinkle with some salt (and pepper too, if that sounds good). Then pile on some of the mixture onto each half of the avocados. Last, serve it up!
Enjoy! And if you make it, let me know how it goes. I’d appreciate recipe edits!